Two good wins for Celtic in football’s Madrid Cup

Geordie Irvine (blue shirt) keeps possession of the ball during the Reserve League match against Unst on Saturday at Harbison Park. Click on image to enlarge.

Celtic had two good wins in group one of Shetland Football Association’s Madrid Cup double league and Scalloway recovered from a drubbing by Spurs to defeat Thistle on Monday. In group two it was a good week for Whitedale with wins over Whalsay and Ness United while Delting and Whalsay shared the spoils in their match.

Madrid Cup
Group One

Celtic 3, Thistle 0

Celtic took all three points in a comfortable win over town rivals Thistle at Gilbertson Park on Friday night.

The home side started well, pinning Thistle into their own half and creating a good number of openings in the process, but the final pass and a lack of tight first touch prevented them opening the scoring until the 17th minute.

The ball was played into the box, the blues’ defence failed to clear and James Aitken prodded home through the ensuing stramash.

Celtic continued to dominate and went further ahead 13 minutes later with a well-worked goal. The ball was played wide to Aitken, who ghosted past the full back and put in a cross to the back post which fell to Joe Leask. The wide man drove the ball into the ground and over the head of Steven Henry in the Thistle goal.

The remainder of the first half petered out in the same vein, with Celtic dominating but being unable to finish many moves with a mix of stray passing and poor first touches.

Thistle’s first attempt at goal came 10 minutes into the second half when young Khalid Rasul pinged a good effort over the bar from the edge of the area.

Celtic’s play was not as sharp or flowing as it had been during the first 45 minutes and the personnel was changed as they lost Tom Moncrieff to injury and Joe Leask to jet-lag; they were replaced by Brett Haining and Ryan Grant.

Then came a series of missed chances for the hoops before the final goal. First up was Daniel Johnston who squandered a good opportunity, then Lowrie Simpson followed his lead with a couple more.

The final goal came from the head of substitute Justin Watson. Aitken swung across a good corner and the big midfielder bulleted it home.

As the game faded away Thistle were denied a consolation by the post when Craig Gerty’s effort beat the keeper but not the plastic.

Best on the night for Celtic were Ross Moncrieff, Joel Bradley, Aitken and Johnston while the vanquished were well served by Stuart Smith and Gary Teale.

Scalloway 1, Spurs 9

Scalloway slumped to a heavy defeat after Spurs ripped apart their makeshift defence in the first 15 minutes to race into a four goal lead.

The scoring was opened by James Johnston, who fired a well-placed shot inside the near post after picking up a poor defensive clearance. Johnston added the second from the penalty spot after Scott Morrison was brought down.

It was Morrison who added the third as he burst through the defence before placing a shot past the keeper before Connell Gresham got in on the act with another well-taken finish.

The shell-shocked home team eventually started to compete but always looked vulnerable to the pace of the Spurs forward line.

In the second half Scalloway started well and pulled a goal back when Gary Burns got the final touch on a net bound shot from Duncan Cumming.

Injuries forced the home team into making changes and it was not long before Spurs once again found their shooting boots. Gresham added two to complete his hat trick while Morrison notched up his second.

In the closing minutes Spurs added to their tally when an unfortunate David Bisset could do little to avoid turning the ball into his own goal and Josie Kay completed the rout with another fine finish.

It was a memorable night for a Spurs side who were superior in every department and had several contenders for man of the match. The margin of victory can partially be explained by the lack of defensive options available to Scalloway. However, in truth they were second best all over the park and never looked likely to recover after getting off to a terrible start.

Spurs 0, Celtic 1

The teams were both hoping to add to their first Madrid Cup wins of the season on Friday night. Celtic started the better with Ross Moncrieff stamping his authority in the middle of the park and Joe Leask and Lowrie Simpson looking lively up front.

As the half progressed Spurs started to find their feet with Josie Kay and Sam Ward starting to provide good service for wide men Sam Goudie and Scott Morrison, the latter having the beating of his marker on several occasions. The service at the other end was equally as good but the Celtic front line were finding Darren Johnson a tough man to beat. The best chance of the half fell to Leask of Celtic but he found Bobby Wiseman equal to the task.

The second half started with Celtic on the back foot with the first real chance falling to Connell Gresham but his shot went narrowly wide of the target. The exchanges over the next 20 minutes were quite even with Spurs just edging it on possession. The deadlock was broken when a high ball into the Spurs box was not dealt with and fell kindly to Joe Leask who finished well.

Spurs pressed for an equaliser with 15 minutes to go. The best of the chances fell to Scott Morrison on two occasions only to find Grant Wood in the Celtic goal in fine form. The first goal in this game was always going to be important, as there has not been much between the two sides in previous encounters.

Best on the night for Spurs were Joe Kay and David Mann while for Celtic Moncrieff, Leask and Wood in goal deserve a mention.

Scalloway 3, Thistle 2

After a frantic opening Scalloway looked to have gained the upper hand and almost scored when a powerful long-range effort from Gary Burns struck the woodwork.

The Scalloway defence were caught cold when Craig Gerty pounced on a loose ball before setting up strike partner Neil Riddell, who wasted little time placing the ball inside the far post to open the scoring.

Stung by the goal Scalloway pressed for an equaliser and were unfortunate when a Laurence Pearson effort struck the bar and a first time shot from Grant Gilfillan beat the keeper but struck a defender on the goal line.

Gilfillan was to enjoy better luck minutes later when a driven Gary Burns free kick landed at his feet and his scuffed effort crept inside the far post despite a valiant attempt from keeper Steven Henry.

With half time approaching a Thistle corner found its way to an unmarked Gerty and the striker’s shot looked to have been saved but squirmed out of the keeper’s grasp and over the line.

In the second half Scalloway once again pressed for an equaliser but were foiled on numerous occasions by a combination of good defending and poor finishing. Eventually the pressure paid off when a corner kick was met at the back post by Steven Umphray and his downwards header was flicked into the net by Grant Gilfillan for his second of the match.

The winning goal arrived with 10 minutes to go when an Alan Davidson volley caught a slight deflection on its way to goal and looped wickedly under the crossbar with keeper Henry stranded.

Thistle went for broke in the final minutes and pushed men forward but the Scalloway defence held firm to secure the win.

Best for the visitors was defender Gary Teale along with scorers Riddell and Gerty. Scalloway welcomed back several first team players for this match with Darren Thompson in particular having a fine game and will take encouragement from a good overall team performance.

Madrid Cup
Group Two

Whitedale 1, Whalsay 0

On a pleasant evening for football, both sidess fought out a hard match and, although lacking in quality due to the heavy pitch, served up an exciting game.

With Whitedale’s injury list growing it was a youthful line up, among them Ali Scott making his home debut for his side. The Whalsay team included juniors Davie Williamson, Stuart Goodlad and James Shearer.

Clear chances were few and far between in the first half with two well-organised defences playing well.

Most of the play was being contested in midfield with Whalsay’s Karl Williamson, Keith Pearson and Ian Simpson up against Martin Clark, Allan Johnston and Gary Tulloch, the latter making his return from a lengthy injury.

Whalsay came close to scoring but their effort went straight to keeper Martin Young who held comfortably. In the 35th minute a Clark free kick from inside his own half floated over the full back to Whitedale captain Duncan Anderson who beat keeper Williamson in a race to the ball, scoring what would be the decisive goal.

The second half continued with Whalsay showing the more urgency as they pushed for the equaliser. Captain John Montgomery came close for the visitors when his overhead effort dipped just over the crossbar.

A dangerous cross from the right met a Whalsay head, hitting the base of the upright before Young smothered the ball. The big keeper was soon in action again, punching clear another Whalsay cross.

With Whalsay pressing forward Whitedale were dangerous on the break with Jamie Wilson on two occasions beating the last man but failing to take his chances.

Whitedale introduced Stuart Donald for the last 10 minutes and the speedy forward was denied his run through on goal when he was brought down by Richard Arthur. Being the last defender he was lucky to remain on the park as referee Mark Goodhand produced a yellow card.

It was a good all-round team performance for Whitedale with Jordan Morrison and Brian Duncan forming a solid partnership in defence and Richard Sinclair and Ali Scott combining well on the left side. John Montgomery and Karl Williamson were the pick for the Whalsay team.

Delting v Ness United

Match postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

Delting 1, Whalsay 1

No report was received but Ross McDougall was on target for Delting with Whalsay replying through Allister Johnson.

Ness United 1, Whitedale 2

Ness took to the field at Boddam for the first time this season and faced a Whitedale side fresh from a win against current champions Whalsay.

Ness made a confident start and probably edged the opening 20 minutes. They looked like they were only the right ball away from breaching the Whitedale defence while Jamie Wilson was making a nuisance of himself up front for the West Side men.

Whitedale grew into the game and Duncan Anderson fired wide from range as they looked to impose themselves on the home team.

Ness forced a couple of corners and when Kyle Macolmson whipped in a great ball for brother Keiran to score just before half time it looked like they would see out the half with a 1-0 lead. However, with just two minutes remaining Whitedale won a free kick about 40 yards out. The free kick was then glanced over the outrushing keeper by Wilson to put the visitors level at the break.

The second half saw a poor start for Ness when they missed a couple of opportunities to clear the danger and Whitedale’s young full back ghosted down to the by-line to set up Jon Moncrieff for a tap in.

Things went further awry for the home side when defender Leigh Smith had to be replaced but Ness dug in and regained their shape after a difficult spell.

As the game wore on with neither keeper being tested too much Ness thwarted any attempts by Whitedale to increase their lead and began to push for an equaliser.

The final 10 minutes saw Ness carve out two or three chances to level the score. Substitute Declan Adamson whipped in a great ball which caused panic in the box before good work down the right saw a ball played in low across goal just out of reach of forward Ian Bray. Finally a tantalising cross was headed just wide by the stretching Bray.

Whitedale will be delighted with the win, a good showing from one or two youngsters but Gary Tulloch was probably their best player on the night. Ness again showed they will be a difficult proposition for any team this season with another good team performance but will be disappointed not take something form the game. Best on the night were John Robert Burgess, Keiran Malcolmson and Bray.

Shetland Chiropractic
Reserve League

Celtic B 3, Whitedale B 1

Scorers for Celtic were Ross Groat, Scott Anderson and Justin Watson with Ryan Joswick replying for Whitedale.

Ness United B 6, Yell 2

Kyle Malcolmson bagged four for Ness with Kevin Smith and Sean Smith also on target. The Yell goal came from Brian Spence.

Scalloway B 3, Spurs B 3

Scott Henderson (2) and Alan Davidson scored for the village side with the visitors goals scored by Adam Sharp, Sam Goudie and Stuart Hall.

Delting B v Thistle B

The match was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

Celtic B 2,  Scalloway B 4

Ross Groat and Justin Watson were the Celtic marksmen while for the winners Scott Henderson and Alan Davidson both grabbed a brace.

Whalsay B 5, Unst 1

Scorers for Whalsay were Geordie Irvine (4) and James Shearer with David Sutherland replying for Unst.

Spurs B v Ness United B

Ness were awarded an away win after Spurs could not field a team.


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